Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has reportedly told Danny Welbeck that he is free to leave Old Trafford. Arsenal and Tottenham are both interested in the England international, but it’s Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho who should be at the front of the queue to sign the underrated forward.
There’s a reason why a significant number of United fans are upset by Van Gaal’s decision to axe Welbeck. The 23-year-old is fast, deceptively strong and, contrary to popular belief, a decent finisher.
Along with his technical qualities, Welbeck also works tirelessly for the team. If asked to track back, he’ll do it. This is one striker who, when assigned to carry out a certain task, will do his job with minimal fuss.
Danny Welbck: Underrated
Welbeck is also an extremely versatile forward. Although he has been mostly deployed on the left flank during his senior career at Old Trafford, his natural position is at centre-forward. Given the opportunity to play in that role and he could easily score between 15-20 goals in a season.
To add some weight to this claim, cast your minds back to the first half of last season, when Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney were both nursing injuries for several weeks. Welbeck was played in his natural position by David Moyes and went on to score six Premier League goals in as many appearances.
Van Gaal making a mistake selling Welbeck
Quite why Van Gaal is prepared to offload Welbeck instead of Javier Hernandez, a one-dimensional forward, is a mystery. It’s not as if the Longsight-born striker was poor in pre-season; in fact, he was among United’s best performers on the pre-season tour of the United States.
But Van Gaal knew on arrival earlier this summer that Welbeck was keen to leave Old Trafford - and now, it seems, the Dutch coach is prepared to grant him his wish.
Reports suggest Van Gaal is not prepared to sell Welbeck to a top-six club, but that would leave no realistic destination for the forward. He’s far too good for the likes of Hull City and Sunderland, while a move away from the Premier League to an overseas country is unlikely to appeal to the player.
Van Gaal must allow Welbeck to join top team
Van Gaal must do the honourable thing, if he does not plan to use him this season, and allow him to join another top English club. And if he ends up joining Arsenal, Spurs or even Chelsea, Manchester United fans shouldn’t begrudge him the move.
Both Arsenal and Tottenham need a striker like Welbeck, but so too do Chelsea. It’s hard to imagine that Mourinho has considered the idea but, to enhance his side’s chances of finishing the season with silverware, he really should.
Watch: Danny Welbeck in action
Mourinho wants Torres gone
It’s no secret that Mourinho wants Fernando Torres out of Stamford Bridge within the next 10 days. The difficulty is finding a buyer prepared to pay him close to the £175,000-a-week he currently earns at Chelsea.
More realistic, since his contract doesn’t expire until 2016, is a loan deal to a club outside of the Premier League. It’s a surprise that Atletico Madrid haven’t come in for the Spain international given the fact he remains a hero in the eyes of the club’s supporters, but then he wouldn’t exactly suit Diego Simeone’s high-pressing, all-action philosophy at the Vicente Calderon.
Diego Costa he most certainly isn’t, which is why Mourinho paid Atletico a cool £32 million to bring the Brazil-born Spain international to Stamford Bridge this summer.
Destro not good enough for Chelsea
Serie A giants AS Roma, however, might be interested in doing business. Reports on Thursday revealed that Chelsea were in talks with the Italian club over a potential swap deal involving Torres and Mattia Destro, but Mourinho should steer well clear of the average Italian striker.
Destro is valued at £20 million. So is Welbeck. For that kind of money, Mourinho would be crazy to opt for the former, who would struggle to score goals in the Premier League. The fact his exclusion from the Italy national team caused such little fuss says a lot about how highly regarded he is - or isn’t - in his home country.
But if there’s a chance to offload Torres, even on loan, Mourinho should take it. After all, he currently has 18 overseas stars and only 17 places up for grabs - and if Petr Cech is happy to stay and play second-fiddle to Thibaut Courtois, at least until January, then Torres is the man who should make way.
Welbeck: Perfect back-up for Chelsea
That would leave Mourinho with Costa and Didier Drogba as his main two strikers. Add Welbeck - a homegrown player - to the equation, and suddenly Chelsea’s attacking options look a lot healthier.
Welbeck is a more effective forward than the modern-day Torres, who is about as lethal as a training ground cone, and a considerably better striker than Destro, who has no business being at Stamford Bridge.
For non-Manchester United fans, it’s popular to dislike Danny Welbeck. But the Chelsea faithful would soon come to realise this is a top-quality centre-forward who has all of the technical and mental qualities to flourish in a Mourinho-managed team.
And if Mourinho doesn’t feel that’s enough of a reason to make a move for the striker, then surely he won’t pass up the opportunity to leave Wenger with a face like thunder.